Thursday, November 01, 2007

Quick question....

What do you think about a large almost-mega church where the founding pastor, or the pastor's spouse, work in the accounting department with the ability to cut checks and handle money?

15 comments:

Don R said...

NO, NO, a thousand times NO!!!
There I said it. That was the case in a large church (around 10,000 members) where I used to attend. It was the pastor's wife.

karen said...

thought so....

Barbara (aka Layla) said...

I can give you my opinion on that in one two letter word:

HA!

Its a problem no matter how trustworthy they are - even if they are 100% above board at all times, it is fodder for those that would think otherwise, temptation for them and a potentially very ugly scene for the church.

karen said...

Barbara...yup. Can't even think why anyone would put themselves in that position, either.

Dave said...

In Scotland we have the Office of Scottish Charities Regulator. Churches in the UK can register as authorised charities. The leadership teams of such churches are trustees of the charity and cannot be paid for their service as trustees.
As treasurer of my church - as small as it is - I cannot be paid for being the treasurer as I am also on the Board of Trustees because I am on the leadership team. {does that make sense?]
As Barbara has said it is 'fodder' for those who think otherwise - a very dodgy set up indeed.

codepoke said...

Is this a trick question? I hate mega-churches. :-)

Ummm, and No.

(The verification word was jvcboo. That's a funny one.)

Missy said...

Someone's gotta do it - as long as it's not me. :)

I'm okay with anyone doing this job. If one person wants to do everything - more power to them. It seems unwise to put oneself in a position of temptation like this, but a transparent operation accountable to a church board takes care of it for me.

Milly said...

Why on earth would you put yourself in that situation?

I'm not a fan of mega myself.

karen said...

I like the word Dave used: it's dodgy.
I'm not sure about the accountability to a board in this.
Since I sat on a consistory as VP of a church....the rule was...never ever does the Pastor or his family members have access to church funds. I've seen this is 2 churches since. The prior one was a pastor who actually handled all of the funds! No accountability there at all...he was signing checks!

Missy said...

Keep in mind that sometimes I like to see what happens when stuff hits the fan! :) The reactions help me know who I am really dealing with.

Actually, even though I am a tax pro and ethics trainer, you'd be surprised how trusting I am of my fellow man (and woman). There are certainly more sound business practices, but I am more put off by churches being run like businesses than anything else. If a pastor and wife can run a large church with financial responsibility and ethical behavior, I think that would be a profitable thing to know about their character - if they cannot, that is also profitable knowledge.

karen said...

Missy, always shakin' it up! ;-) I admire your sense of trust.

Generally, pastors with their hand in the till is a no-no.

Kansas Bob said...

Late to the dance again.. what a week :(

I wonder what the response would have been if you removed "mega" from the question?

Kudos to Missy for not believing the worst of these hypothetical pastors.

karen said...

These aren't hypothetical.

The church I was in prior was a small one, KB. Still is. The pastor or his wife wrote all the checks. There was never any financial accountability.
They also ripped off two of my friends who bailed out the church financially (a few grand) when the budget came up short for a big women's event--paid the caterers and hotel. Bad planning. They have never been paid back.

Why should a pastor be in this position, no matter how honorable they are?

karen said...

Well, one exception.....
I'd trust Kansas Bob with the till any day!!! :-D

Kansas Bob said...

Not sure that I'd trust anyone from Kansas :)

I just found the responses to be filled with bad experiences that people have had with church leaders.. I have had bad experiences but have also had good experiences.

For me, I have found that too many pastors hide behind the idea that their job doesn't involve managing the finances. Probably somewhere in between these two approaches that advocates integrity and responsibility.

One of the troubling parts of the question for me is that it seemed to resemble:

All doctors are in it for the money.. or.. all lawyers are crooks.

Most pastors I know (and I know a lot) are great people with compassionate hearts for people. Many of them get into ministry very young and were never exposed to the business side of church. I have had to 'get into their business' more times than I have wanted and mostly their response has not been good.. I have been tempted to take those really bad experiences and project them on other church leaders.. I have on a few occasions.. but when I learned to trust again.. well everything was different.

Sorry for the long rant Karen.. not sure that it made sense.